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by Ariel T '14

Socrates Sculpture Park Offers New Art Program

Recently, Socrates Sculpture Park received a large grant, around $300,000 thousand from Shelley and Donald Rubin. The Rubin’s generous donations to art organizations in Queens is atypical as they are less likely to come into direct contact with affluent social circles as is the usual custom with donations of this type in Manhattan. Crain’s New York Business quotes Ms. Rubin as having said, “’Socrates is an expansion of the community. It brings art to people and people to art.’”

The funds will be spread out by the park over three years. The park wants to allocate part of the funds towards developing sculpture projects and towards building an enclosed structure for art education in colder months. Shaun Leonardo, an administrator at the park has had a relationship with BSGE’s Peter Wilson for a long time.  “We are a neighborhood school and Leonardo came to us to see if we’re interested in this as an after school sculpture making program,” shared Ms. Schwarz. BSGE students have worked with internship programs at the park, for years BSGE took initiative and helped out on Earth Day.

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by Ariel T '14

Changes in School Calendar

For years, from as early as the 1950s, New York City Public Schools have observed the Jewish holidays and accommodated the school schedule to ensure less absences and to assist the Jewish population of students. This adaptation to the Jewish holidays is rare in other parts of the country. In 2011, two students in Portland, Oregon created and signed a petition that was presented to the board of the Portland Public School System in order to address academic difficulty posed by the holiday, missing school and being forced to retake finals and exams at later dates. The students argued that because the absences were a result of religious observance the school system should recognize this. In 2003, in Chagrin, Ohio the decision close schools on Jewish holidays was based purely on the numbers of absences.

Schools in other places are closed for Jewish holidays due to the number of absences and the action to close schools. The question commonly asked is when and if accommodations will be made for the cultures and religions practiced in NYC in the future. “I think its important that a range of holidays are acknowledged, especially when we get Jewish holidays off and a whole week for Christmas, even though that is also partially New Years,” Lina

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by Ariel T '14

The Dough of the College Pizza Pie

Once the applications have been sent and the pending acceptance and rejection letters are on the horizon the financial aid process, the second half of the college process begins. While Peter gives out the College Manual to 11th and 12th graders, which includes information about financial aid, it never hurts to review the basics.

Peter Wilson, BSGE’s college counselor, called for a mandatory meeting with students and their families in order to inform students of the types of financial aid and the forms that need to be filled out. The burden of paying for college is heavy and students are expected to shoulder it. Mr. Wilson stressed that parents cannot be the ones expected to carry all of the weight and students must be aware of the business of higher education.

Need-based aid is based entirely on the economics of your family. It is calculated by adding the income of parents and their assets, then dividing that number by the dependents, or

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by Ariel T '14

Sitting Down with Ms. Meisler: An Interview

BSGE has a new 9th and 10th grade English teacher: Jamie Meisler.

“We [BSGE] had been needing a new English teacher for a while; Niki Singh left and it became too much for the current English teachers,” said Izzy Hernandez ’14, who sat down and participated in the trial lessons of prospective teachers. Recently, Ms. Meisler sat down with the BaccRag to answer some questions and tell us more about herself. This is not Ms. Meisler’s first time as an English teacher. She previously taught at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, NY, for ten years, and Irvington, Westchester for two years. She believes that in comparison to other schools the students in BSGE are of a strong caliber; though focused on their grades, students here are interested in learning. Ms. Meisler can gauge the level of student involvement by the questions asked which “show they are interested in the works.” Progress in class is measured, aside from essay and test grades, by checking for engagement in

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by Ariel T '14

#IBDone – BSGE Juniors and Seniors Complete their IB Exams

IB exams, mandatory tests taken by juniors and seniors at the end of the school year, are usually two weeks long. This year, the exams took place from May 2nd to the 22nd and were taken for the first time at a building just around the corner from BSGE, one that most students pass every morning–a grey building with a yellow “lightning bolt.” Most BSGE juniors were very nervous because this was their first IB exam. In addition, these IB science exam grades are the grades that colleges see on the transcripts (that is because senior year IB exam grades are released usually after college acceptance letters are mailed out). According to Isabella Hernandez ‘14, “the environment was very comfortable…but I am really relieved it’s over.” Lauren Ouaknine ‘14 was also relieved. She said that “it was strange that a whole year of studying and testing gets condensed into a few hours” of sitting in an unfamiliar room and taking one of the most important exams for the junior year. What some students have not realized, however, is that IB Science classwork and lab reports also count towards the final IB grade. For some this is unfortunate, as some students do not try their hardest in these classes. Others, such as Isabella, find this beneficial. She said, “I was ecstatic knowing I had already passed before taking the test because of my lab grade.” Despite the mixed feelings towards the IB exams and the experience taking them, many future IB exam takers should note that the exams themselves are not so terrible–just relax and have a good night’s sleep beforehand!

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by Ariel T '14

Understanding Gun Control in New York City

The shooting in Newton, Connecticut drew attention to gun laws after a year full of other  incidents. Many people throughout the country feel that something needs to be done to restrict people’s access guns in order to protect citizens. In the United States the issue of gun law has become an increasingly touchy subject.

There are a spectrum of positions about gun laws and regulations. On one end of the spectrum are people who want guns to be scarcer in public places. There are people who want there to be guns that are used primarily for hunting and recreation. Others argue guns should be allowed for personal protection. There are people who want background mental checks on people who want to buy guns. At another extreme are people who believe there should be increased presence of guns in schools and that increased amount of guns correlates to increased protection.

People who believe that guns should not be restricted point to studies that show “more gun ownership results in less crime” and argue that “liberals push gun control because it increases the dependency of voters on government for protection” (Conservapedia). Conservatives believe that restricting gun control denies one’s ability to protect oneself and that the Constitution gives the right to own guns necessary to keep the government in check. However this can be negated because when

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by Ariel T '14

The New Art Display

The school’s art department recently decided to purchase the Seniors’ art work  in an attempt to create a school collection of art. The art now on display in the lobby across from the office is new this year and has attracted a lot of attention. The framed painting on display now is a wolf painted by Kara Tong called “Stripped” and portrays animal abuse.

Kara Tong's piece, titled, "The Strap"
Kara Tong’s piece, titled, “Stripped”

A painting titled “New York/Nevada” by Dominique Cottichio and Sofia Chelpon’s print of a patio also need to be hung. In total three seniors from last year from the senior show were chosen because their work demonstrated and exemplified the goals of the IB art program. The art chosen from last year was decided based on how thoroughly students studio work investigated ideas, developed skills and clearly communicated ideas. Mr. Sheridan said he also looked for confidence and independence in the work. The students whose work was chosen spent a lot of time in eight period and were curious to use new media. The research thoroughly backed up their work and there were high

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by Ariel T '14

Personalizing Politics: Political Campaigns in the 21st Century

In the most recent political election, season campaigns made better use of private data and patterns gained from personal information to make political ads and reach new voters than in any other previous election. This new method of campaigning involves using social media to lead to the ultimate success of the campaign. Polls about certain issues have been used to find out what people want to hear from certain candidates. In this way, candidates can better target their audiences and cater their viewpoints to be inclusive of the audience they are trying to reach.

Due to DVR (digital video recording) and other technological, developments it is

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by Ariel T '14

Shaking Up Junior Streams

This year’s junior class had its streams reorganized and most of its classes enlarged. The classes and which students are in each change almost each period. In 7th grade, classes were divided by language. The next year the two classes of Chinese became one Chinese class, and there were two Spanish classes. The streams were divided accordingly. The next year, 9th grade, to everyone’s surprise the language classes merged and there was a period when everyone had Language B at the same time. Despite having one period where everyone was in a class of split streams, everyone otherwise belonged solely to one stream. Now, in the 11th grade, the classes are separated mainly by students’ science and language choices. English, History of the Americas, and Science are spent with a student’s science class. Language and Math are separate. This year’s eleventh graders have classes with solely their science class, classes mixed

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by Ariel T '14

BSGE’s 2012 IB Art Show

The BSGE Senior IB art exhibit is a main product of those working on the IB art show in which artwork is displayed, graded and sold through auction. The art show occurs every year in the month of April. However this year might be the last time because next year will be different. Students will submit work digitally online next year. According to Ms. McCabe, the teacher in charge of the show this year, “this will allow for there to be multiple art shows or exhibits at different times of the year. This is the last year in April but dates are set by IB.” The art show grand opening and reception, held on April 17th, went over extremely well. Students felt that it was very professional and the pieces were impressive, showed a lot of hard work. According to Robert Gajda in the tenth grade “I was surprised how many pieces each student had and I really loved how much color there was.  The finished pieces in the show are only part of the work the students completed during the 2-year course. In total students chose 12-18 pieces to display. A big part of the IB art course is a sketchbook that contains written research and plans for their

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by Ariel T '14

BSGE’s New Chess Club

The new chess club at BSGE has attracted many new and experienced players alike. Their goal, according to Dorian Noussias ‘13, is to “educate people on how to play chess and have fun with it.” The club is run by Dorian and supervised by Ms. Johnson. Most of the students have played at some point prior to joining the club. Katie Donohue ‘15 and Lauren Hallisey ‘15 have played, “but not since 2nd grade” they joke. One person doesn’t know how to play and she is planning to be taught by Dorian. The club meets every Tuesday and Wednesday during and after 9th period. There may

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by Ariel T '14

Meet Mr. Sheridan

BSGE kicked off the start of the year with two brand new teachers. Art teacher Mr. Sheridan, who replaced Mr. McGuire was one of them. Mr. Sheridan grew up “in the Northeast corner of Connecticut in a small town in the foothills of the Berkshires. The town has 2 stoplights”.
He discovered his passion for art at a young age. He started making art “under the desk in (his) dad’s office [where] there was a bucket of crayons.” Surprisingly his parents never kept his work from when he was little. He said ,“the whole bring it home and put it on the fridge-that never happened.” He originally